Outdoor Photographer April 2012 Discover Digital Quick Tips Article

Outdoor Photographer April 2012 Discover Digital Quick Tips Article

I am excited to share that my “Discover Digital Quick Tips” article is published in the April 2012 issue of Outdoor Photographer! OP’s Editor gave me this opportunity after telling me that he always considers my images to be among the most authentic and beautiful that he regularly sees. In my article, I offer my advice on what my top processing techniques are and how photographers can use them to make their own images look spectacular. Please let me know if you enjoyed reading it and feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.

In other news, my regular readers, friends, fans, etc will probably have noted that I have not been online much in the last 2 months. I spent a wonderful, though, not super productive 3 weeks in Hawaii in February. I was barely home for a week before I flew down to Arizona to give 3 presentations about my Alaska photography at the Tucson, Paradise Valley, and Tempe REIs. (I will be at the San Diego, Portland, and Anchorage REIs in the coming month.) Last week, I moved my family into our gorgeous new house just south of Leschi. It is breathtaking to look out my windows anytime and see Lake Washington, the Cascades, and Mount Rainier. This week, I am finally settling into my new office which has its own separate entrance, new cork floors, furniture, and gallery track lighting. I have some large acrylic face-mounts being made by West Coast Imagining that will adorn my walls for when clients visit. Summer is also coming just around the corner. I have multiple trips planned to Alaska, plus my first trip to Tonga. This fall, I will also be joining a small sailboat expedition to South Georgia Island for 4 weeks. As you can see, I have a lot of exciting things going on and many new images to be created.

Be social and share.

Laguna de los Tres Sunrise Clouds 3

Laguna de los Tres Sunrise Clouds 3

During my recent trip to Patagonia, I was only able to see and photograph the amazing granite spires a few days due to the notorious weather. Most of my trip involved sitting around camp waiting for better conditions. It was not the most productive photography trip. However, when the weather was nice, it was amazing! In order to get to this fantastic viewpoint in time for sunrise, I had to hike over 2 miles and 1600′ vertical feet in the dark. On the morning that I photographed this scene, I could tell when I woke up at 3am that it was clear on the eastern horizon and discerned the silhouette of Mount Fitz Roy above camp to the west. Anticipation of an epic sunrise provided me with extra motivation during the hike up to Laguna de los Tres. I was not disappointed, because the clouds lit up with dramatic color while Mount Fitz Roy was bathed in alpenglow. This image was created using my Canon 5DmkII and Singh-Ray 3-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter on a Carl Zeiss 21mm f2.8 ZE lens that Zeiss USA was kind enough to loan me for my trip. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3.

Be social and share.

Laguna Torre Cloudy Reflection 1

Laguna Torre Cloudy Reflection 1

Each year, the summit of Cerro Torre eludes climbers from around the world mostly due to the atrocious weather. They most often spend weeks or even months tent-bound patiently waiting for the weather to clear, but it rarely does. My own experience trying to photograph Cerro Torre has been equally challenging. Between my first visit in 2007 and 2 visits during my recent trip, I’ve spent 8 days attempting to photograph it. If I had been at the lake the day before I created this image, I might now be sharing a sunrise picture of the mountain surrounded by beautiful orange clouds and a calm reflection. However, I hesitate to say that my recent attempts were totally unsuccessful, because I created this mysterious image. Though I could not see the summit at sunrise, an hour later the clouds became thin enough to allow the summit to peak through a hole while Laguna Torre was almost a perfect reflection. This image captures the drama of the typical conditions beneath this impossible spire more so than any image that I might have originally hoped to create. I am sure I will someday return to photograph Cerro Torre during a more ideal sunrise, but do I need to? I created this image with my Canon 5DmkII, Carl Zeiss 35mm f2 ZE lens, Singh-Ray 4-stop Soft Graduated Neutral Density filter, and tripod. It required minimal processing using Aperture 3.

Be social and share.

Laguna de los Tres Sunrise 5

Laguna de los Tres Sunrise 5

Located in the Southern Andes Mountains of Argentina and Chile, Patagonia boasts some of the most dramatic mountains on Earth, including Mount Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre, and the Torres del Paine. Unfortunately, Patagonia also receives some of the world’s worst weather. Clouds obscure the mountains for weeks or even months at a time. This consistently awful weather makes photography in the region a lesson in monotonous boredom and disciplined patience. One of my old climbing partners from Alaska was down there the entire month of January and never got a good weather window long enough to climb anything significant. Over the course of my own 3 week trip, I was only able to see the summits at sunrise on 4 days, 2 of which I did not shoot because I was exhausted and frustrated back in town for the night rather than camping close to my objectives.

I visited Patagonia for the first time in March of 2007. During that trip, I experienced my only major camera failure in 10 years as a professional photographer. I had been shooting startrails the night before walking up to Laguna de los Tres with my old Pentax 67II and had drained the batteries. I was not worried because I always carry a spare set of batteries with me, but after 1 weeks of waiting patiently for a clear sunrise, I discovered that my spare set was also dead! That camera failure haunted me for the last 4 years. Knowing how few opportunities I would have because of the weather, I made photographing Mount Fitz Roy from Laguna de los Tres my main objective for my recent trip.

From the town of El Chalten, I backpacked up to Campemento Poincenot and established my basecamp 3 different times. From there, I walked uphill over 2 miles and 1500′ in elevation each morning to this spectacular viewpoint. I camped a total of 7 nights, waiting for the right conditions. Most of the mornings the weather was windy, cold, and wet, but I still dragged my butt up hill 4 times. This is probably my favorite image from my trip. I really like how the dark clouds above the summits intensified the alpenglow illuminating the mountains. The light only lasted for about 12 minutes, which meant I finally had 12 minutes for photography after 1 week of travel! I created this image using my Canon 5DmkII and Singh-Ray 3-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter on a Carl Zeiss 21mm f2.8 ZE lens that Zeiss USA was kind enough to loan me for my trip. This image required minimal processing using Aperture 3.

Be social and share.

Backpacker March 2010 Cover

Backpacker Magazine March 2010 Cover

For the third time this year, one of my images graces the cover of Backpacker magazine. The March 2010 issue’s cover shot is my image “Lago Pehoe Fiery Sunrise”. I also give tips on photographing wide-angle landscape scenes in the article “Shoot Like a Pro” on pages 36-42, and my image “Spray Park Wildflowers 1” is featured on page 37.

In other news, I am currently updating my website to make it is easier to sign up for my photography tours, purchase my fine art prints, and license my images. The overall design is going to stay the same, I just need to simplify access for my customers. I also need to add several new galleries and update my older ones with the new images that I have created during the past 16 months.

Be social and share.

Torres Dramatic Sunrise 1

2009 Nature’s Best International Photography Awards

I am excited to announce that my image “Torres Dramatic Sunrise” will be a Highly Honored Landscape in the 2009 Nature’s Best Windland Smith Rice International Photography Awards!  I created this image 2 years ago while backpacking in Torres Del Paine National Park in Chile.  Most trekkers who have visited this location have done so while multi-day trekking and usually only spend 1 night before moving on.  However, my only goal during my visit was to photograph the Torres in epic light, so I spent 5 days/4 nights camping in the same location so that I could photograph the spires each day.  My last morning was the most dramatic.  You can read more about it in my previous post on the Singh-Ray filters blog.

Be social and share.

Torres Dramatic Sunrise 1

2009 Edmonds Art Festival Juried Gallery

I am proud to announce that my image “Torres Dramatic Sunrise” won 1st Place in the Photography category at the 2009 Edmonds Art Festival Juried Gallery! I was notified while I was in Alaska last week. The following information is from one of my previous posts.

I created this image in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park in the region of South America better known as Patagonia. I’ve been familiar with these mountains since well before I even knew what a mountain looked like. I was first introduced to the Patagonia clothing company by my Uncle Jerry way back in junior high school while growing up in Michigan. While I was very active in rock-climbing and mountaineering during the 90’s, I read a number of amazing stories about climbing the famous granite spires of the region. Even though I am no longer interested in technical climbing, I had always wanted to visit these legendary mountains and in 2007 I finally had the opportunity to do so. I loved the spectacular scenery so much, that I went back in January 2008. I did not have enough time during my first trip to backpack to the famous Los Torres viewpoint, so I made it my main objective on this second visit. It is a 16 mile roundtrip hike up to the Torres campground, so in order to photograph the mountains at sunrise you need to camp overnight.  I took enough food and equipment to spend 5 days and had uncommonly good weather. Every morning, I would get up an hour before sunrise to hike up the ridge to the famous viewpoint and wait for the sunrise. I did this 4 days in a row, and on my final day I got lucky when the clouds parted for a brief moment and the sunrise light illuminated the spires in golden light. It takes a lot of energy to travel that far for a few images, but the results are worth the effort.

Be social and share.

Torres Dramatic Sunrise 1

My Top 10 Favorite Photos of 2008, #1

I am proud to announce that my favorite image from 2008 is “Torres Dramatic Sunrise”. I created this image in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park in the region of South America better known as Patagonia. I’ve been familiar with these mountains since well before I even knew what a mountain looked like. I was first introduced to the Patagonia clothing company by my Uncle Jerry way back in junior high school while growing up in Michigan. While I was very active in rock-climbing and mountaineering during the 90’s, I read a number of amazing stories about climbing the famous granite spires of the region. Even though I am no longer interested in technical climbing, I had always wanted to visit these legendary mountains and in 2007 I finally had the opportunity to do so. I loved the spectacular scenery so much, that I went back last January. I did not have enough time during my first trip to backpack to the famous Los Torres viewpoint, so I made it my main objective on this second visit. It is a 16 mile roundtrip hike up to the Torres campground, so in order to photograph the mountains at sunrise you need to camp overnight. I took enough food and equipment to spend 5 days and had uncommonly good weather. Every morning I would get up an hour before sunrise to hike up the ridge to the famous viewpoint and wait for the sunrise. I did this 4 days in a row, and on my final day I got lucky when the clouds parted for a brief moment and the sunrise light illuminated the spires in golden light. Patagonia is one of my favorite travel destinations and I am going back again on January 25 for 15 days. I am going to have a photographic rematch with Mt Fitz Roy and the elusive Cerro Torre in Los Glaciares National Park. It takes a lot of energy to travel that far for a couple of images, but the results are worth the effort. I created this image using my Pentax 67II, 75mm lens, Singh-Ray 2-Stop Hard GND filter, Gitzo Basalt tripod, Acratech Ultimate ballhead, Fuji Velvia 50 film at f22 and 3 seconds.

Be social and share.

Lago Pehoe Fire Sunrise 2

2008 Shell/BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year

I recently got my 2008 entry returned to me. I again did not have any of my wildlife or landscape images make it into the competition, however, I did have 8 out of my 12 images that I submitted make it to the Semi-Final round of judging, including this image of the spectacular Cuernos at sunrise from the shores of Lago Pegoe in Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia. Please visit more of my images from Torres del Paine National Park.

Be social and share.

Torres Dramatic Sunrise 1

Torres Dramatic Sunrise 1

I have just returned from a 14 day trip to Patagonia. It took me over 27 hours of travel to fly from El Calafate back to Seattle. I spent 5 days backpacking and trying to photograph the famous Torres at sunrise. I was fortunate that I was able to photograph the spires 4 mornings in a row. I had to hike up a big hill for about an hour every day to be in place for the sunrise. On my final attempt, the wind was just screaming and it was very difficult to shoot. Right as this cloud came over the top of the spires, there was a brief lull in the wind and I was able to capture one frame that was sharp at the peak of the drama. Please visit more of my Torres Del Paine National Park Photography from Patagonia.

Be social and share.